Letter: Base 2 petition
The purpose of the “Base 2” Citizens petition is not to condemn affordable lodging in Aspen. What it does do is oppose the current Base 2 development approval that varies far in excess (150 percent)+ from what is allowed by underlying zoning and duly adopted land use plans. This was a triple-sized structure approved without a rezoning or any consideration of what the effect of a large, grey-stone, box building built with zero lot-line restrictions (also not currently permitted by underlying zoning), will have at the core of our historic downtown Main Street location.
Council approved no on-site parking for this massive structure and just 2 areas across from Carl’s Pharmacy for drop off or “staging.” Have you circled the block lately looking for a parking space at Carl’s Pharmacy? Contrary to popular belief, Base 2 has no approved plan for parking nor has the City approved parking in our tax-subsidized parking lot. This lot is often full as it is and the proposed loss of 20 parking spaces to the “Base 2” developer is hard to swallow. On site parking should be part and parcel of this development.
Essentially, the Citizen’s Base 2 Petition circulating asks voters to consider whether the City’s decision to triple density on a key Main Street parcel within the historic mixed-use district and eliminated on-site parking, along with any meaningful affordable employee housing should be upheld by voters. (The pubic will currently be asked to subsidize the costs of private development employee housing for 1.63 employees rather than the standard 2.8 employees).
It is crucial for those of us who agree that there should be affordable lodging in Aspen that there be a definitive restriction on the price of the supposedly “small”
rooms. Currently there is no such provision in the Council’s granting of approval for Base 2. Without such a restriction we have no reason to believe that the developer, Mark Hunt, will not find he requires that the proposed $200 per night rooms become $400-$500 per night rooms in order to make money.
Signing the Citizens Base 2 Petition is not a vote against affordable lodging. It is to refer the Base 2 application to the voter so that City Council will not take it as authority that they an continue their current course of poor governance approving major increases to zoning in one-off approvals. There has been neither a sensitive plan for the future nor meaningful input in what is mostly an insider process between staff and a developer, with council showing up when the deal is mostly done is poor representative democracy. Then, when the deal is essentially sealed the public is limited to its three minutes of time to advocate for the public interest. Please take a moment 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at City Market to sign the Base 2 Citizen’s petition. Or call Ward Hauenstein at 970-948-3858 to help circulate a petition.